Martinsville, Indiana

Martinsville, Indiana

Martinsville is a city in Morgan County, Indiana, United States. The population was 11,698 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Morgan County. Geographically it is located in south central Indiana. Martinsville is easily accessed by State Roads 37, 39, 252, 44, and 67. Nearby towns include Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Nashville. The White River runs along the north edge of Martinsville.


In 1899 Eugene Shireman, a Martinsville entrepreneur, turned his swamp land into fisheries and started Grassyfork Fisheries . Once dubbed the “Goldfish Capital of the World,” today Martinsville has several large fisheries that sell fish to many parts of the world. Shireman's actions transformed the landscape of the Martinsville area forever, and his fisheries can be seen today throughout Shireman subdivision. Martinsville is also home to other fisheries.

From 1888 until 1968 visitors sought out the many artesian mineral water heath spas (called sanitariums then) of Martinsville for health benefits. Over the course of nearly 100 years, almost a dozen sanitariums were in operation for various periods of time, including the first black spa in Martinsville.

Visitors would travel by rail and road to bathe and refresh in the mineral springs and waters. Many luminaries visited Martinsville in the early 20th century to enjoy the mineral waters and spas for their perceived therapeutic and health restoring qualities. ( Photographs of the sanitariums.) On top of what used to be the National Sanitarium a refurbished neon sign still displays "Martinsville City of Mineral Water " as it did so many years ago.

In 1892 the Old Hickory Furniture Company was formed. The Morgan County Public Library’s Digital Archive has a collection of photographs of Old Hickory furniture including some displays for Marshall Field & Co.

On the night of Sept. 16, 1968, Carol Jenkins , a 21-year-old black woman, was murdered in Martinsville. Many assumed the murderer was a local person. Martinsville endured charges of a cover up, racial hatred, and accusations for the 34 years her murder remained unsolved.

In 2002 it was discovered that a Hendricks County man and his acquaintance were passing through Martinsville in 1968, saw Ms. Jenkins, and murdered her. This man was connected to the Ku Klux Klan, but not connected to Martinsville in any way. Since the man was just passing though Martinsville the randomness of the murder made it nearly impossible for law enforcement to solve the case.

The break the police needed to solve the case came when the man’s seven-year-old daughter, who was in the back seat of the car and witnessed the murder, grew up and stepped forward to tell what really happened that night.


Martinsville is located at (39.423339, -86.423779).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.6 km²), of which, 4.5 square miles (11.6 km²) of it is land and 0.22% is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 11,698 people, 4,621 households, and 3,086 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,620.6 people per square mile (1,012.7/km²). There were 4,880 housing units at an average density of 1,093.2/sq mi (422.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was remarkably homogeneous, with 98.62% of Martinsville's residents claiming White ethnicity, 0.27% were Native American, 0.18% claimed Asian ancestry, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino and African American residents comprised less than one percent of the population.

There were 4,621 households out of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,746, and the median income for a family was $40,304. Males had a median income of $31,215 versus $22,090 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,664. About 8.7% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.

Notable natives and former residents

  • Branch, Emmett Forrest - 13th Governor of Indiana
  • Bray, Richard G. - U.S. Congressman
  • Couch, Oscar G. - Mooresville Banker & Legislator
  • Curtis, Glenn M. - Basketball player and coach.
  • Condiutt, Alexander B. - Early and influential politician
  • Furnas, Clifford C. - Scientist, college administrator, author, and government official.
  • Hadley, Paul - Designer of the Indiana State Flag
  • Helms, Bobby - Singer who popularized the Christmas song "Jingle Bell Rock".
  • Kottkamp, Jeff-Lt. Governor of Florida (2006-present)
  • McCracken, Emmett Branch - Player and coach
  • McNutt, Paul V. - Governor of Indiana from 1933 to 1937
  • Rusie, Amos Wilson - Pitcher for the New York Giants
  • Shireman, Eugene - Entrepreneur who turned his swamp land into fisheries
  • Sichting, Jerry - Basketball player and coach
  • Wetherby, John C. - Received Congressional Medal of Honor November 20, 1899
  • Wooden, John R. - Member of Basketball Hall of Fame and the first to be named into the Hall of Fame as a coach and as a player.

External links

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